Thursday, September 22, 2016

Manila's Finest: Yuujin Japanese Restaurant

Did you know that Japanese women have the longest average life expectancy in the world? Because their traditional diet is known for being high in fish and low in fat, majority of these women tend to live until 87 years old, that's 15 years more than the average life expectancy of Filipinas! While I still have more than half a lifetime left in me to travel the world, who wouldn't want to have that extra 15 years? I guess that's more than enough reason to eat Japanese food everyday!

My journey to a healthier and longer life resumed with CS' suggestion for us to dine at one of the most underrated Japanese restaurants in Metro Manila - Yuujin. The place has been around since 2012 but it was only recently that we were able to try it ourselves. The place was packed when we arrived on a Saturday night, a great indication that we made the right choice.

We opted to take the seats by the sushi bar instead of waiting for a table to become available as we were too excited to try Yuujin's delicious offerings. Besides, it was amusing to watch the chef and the staff do their magic right in front of us, makes the waiting even more bearable.

What we ordered

Complimentary appetizer

It did not took long enough until the staff handed us bowls of stewed ground pork with potatoes, bell peppers and carrots. The savory starter was an unexpected but a welcome treat to condition our palate to a delectable evening. And who even says no to free, right?

Salmon Sashimi - Php265.00

We made sure to order the Salmon Sashimi upon seeing that all tables have at least one plate each. The price may be standard for any Manila-based restaurant but look at that thickness! I know that sashimi should be consumed as a whole but it was a mouthful that I had to bite in the middle to fully enjoy it. The freshness of the salmon was also exemplary as evident in its vivid color.

Saba Sashimi - Php245.00

CS saw how fresh the Saba is from our seats which made it even harder for him to resist after seeing it on the menu. Another steal for its quality and the generous cut of the sashimi.

Crazy Maki - Php295.00

The server recommended their bestselling Crazy Maki with insane toppings of shredded kani and rolled in tempura flakes. I usually prefer my maki with raw fish but this one's hard to forego with its tasty flavors and crunchy bite. Such a fun treat for customers who prefer cooked dishes.

Spicy Tuna Maki - Php215.00

Anything with spicy tuna and I'm sold! Seeing that Yuujin offers it in maki form made me curious and thrilled at the same time. Not only are the ingredients topnotch, but all our orders are filled with huge cuts of raw fish including this Spicy Tuna Maki.

If you live and breathe Japanese food like us, it would be a shame if you've never heard of or haven't been to Yuujin at least once in your lifetime. So save yourself the trouble of going around town to look for the best because we've got it covered!

My Top 3 Japanese Restaurants in Manila are:

1. Asunaro Express at Pan Pacific Hotel, Manila
2. Haru Sushi Bar and Restaurant in Kapitolyo, Pasig
3. Yuujin Japanese Restaurant in Greenhills, San Juan


221 Wilson Street
Greenhills, San Juan
Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 706-0626

Monday, September 19, 2016

Naughty and Nice at Ebeneezers BGC

No, its not THE Ebeneezer's Kebabs and Pizzeria in Hongkong.

I thought I hit the jackpot upon seeing the signage from across the road so I dragged CS in an instant for us to finally try the famous Ebeneezer's Kebabs from Hongkong. I excitedly asked the lady at the counter about it but she politely corrected me that it was not a franchise, just the same name. But what kept us from racing out of the door is her claim that it was established by the same person who conceptualized the famous Hongkong brand so we thought it was worth the try.

Ebeneezers sits on the building beside Shangri-La at The Fort and has 2 floors, the kitchen + salad bar + counter with several tables and chairs on the first while the second level is the bar also known as the Naughty Room, or if you're early, it can also serve as the dining area.

I was grumpy the whole time we were in Ebeneezers because there were naughty mosquitoes everywhere! Not even Deadpool being shown on the television by the bar could cheer me up.

What we ordered

Ebeneezer's Green Mind (Large) - Php275.00

The road to a healthy lifestyle always starts with a bowl of salad. Ebeneezers' Green Mind was a combination of assorted vegetables in special sauce. I was utterly disappointed that the colorful mix did not equate to an interesting stir of flavors because it was the weirdest combination I have ever tasted - just a step closer to being inedible! If you must, don't make the same mistake of letting them put all the ingredients and just request for the basic ones that you will like.

Organic Chicken Marinated in Yogurt Shawarma - Php198.00

Marinated and grilled with love, all shawarmas are wrapped in Ebeneezers' homemade pita breads. While the salad's mixed up flavor kookoo upset my palate, the shawarmas we tried were all party party in the tummy! Both our orders were reasonably priced, savory and delectable.

My Breakfast Shawarma was a complete meal on its own with tender Angus beef tapa, garlic rice and scrambled egg while CS' Organic Chicken Shawarma was a delicious wrap featuring generous strips of delicious chicken marinate in yogurt and turmeric.

Breakfast Shawarma - Php198.00

When in Ebeneezers, just remember to stick to the sharawmas and you'll be fine.


G/F Net Quad Building
4th Street corner 30th Street
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 865-6657

Friday, September 16, 2016

Hotel Review: Oakwood Premier Joy-Nostalg Manila

Recognized as one of the best accommodations in Pasig City, Oakwood Premier is a service apartment housed in the 40-storey Joy-Nostalg Center alongside local and multinational offices in the bustling Ortigas Center. The area is notorious for its heavy traffic and ridiculous parking fees so the only time I would agree on driving myself there is on a weekend when there are less people and less cars on the road. As for the parking fee, I made sure that Oakwood Premier offers complimentary parking for its hotel guests before booking a room. The only thing I did not expect was that they only allow one free parking per room while the second car would be charged Php60.00 for the first 2 hours plus Php30.00 for the succeeding hours.

From the basement parking, we took the elevator to the office lobby then walked thru the corridor that leads to the hotel. After confirming our reservations and signing the necessary paperworks, the staff gave us the key cards for a studio room, our home for a weekend of another staycation.

Our spacious 41sqm studio executive room, booked through Agoda at a discounted rate of Php4,315 per night exclusive of breakfast, is the cheapest room in Oakwood Premier and can accommodate up to two adults comfortably. Other room types include a one-bedroom deluxe, two-bedroom executive and three-bedroom executive rooms.

View from our room

Studio executive rooms are located between the 8th and 23rd floors of the building. All rooms are air-conditioned and furnished with a king-sized bed with bedside tables, home entertainment system with a 40-inch LCD television, a receiving/dining area, a writing desk, ironing facilities and a laundry nook with a washer/dryer machine that's suitable for long staying guests.

The room is also equipped with a modern toilet and bath with a rain shower and an in-shower steam. A cable television is mounted on the wall by the sink for guests' better enjoyment.

Another reason why we chose to stay in Oakwood Premier is because we wanted to take advantage of the fully-equipped kitchen in our room. As the rainy season is upon us, dining out is becoming the less popular option for us as opposed to room service or better yet, cooking our own meals!

The kitchen is stocked with a convention oven, a ceramic cook top, microwave, refrigerator, oven toaster, rice cooker, coffee maker, pots and pans, cooking utensils, plates, bowls, drinking glasses and dining utensils. The hotel also provides two complimentary bottled water per room.

Watching the hit TV show Masterchef inspired me to cook for CS instead of us ordering room service. So after check in, we went to the supermarket and bought the ingredients for our Salmon Risotto and Steak date night. In case you forgot to buy salt or pepper, you can check with housekeeping as the hotel offers quite a number of spices and other pantry essentials for sale.

Pros: Clean, spacious and well-appointed room, convenient location, fully-equipped kitchen, modern bath with in-room steam and heated swimming pools

Cons: Pricey room rates, one complimentary parking per room only, inadequate signage from the basement parking to the hotel lobby and snobby front desk staff


Oakwood Premier Joy-Nostalg Center Manila
Joy Nostalg Center, 17 ADB Avenue
San Antonio, Pasig City
Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 910-8888

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday Treats No. 56

Mango Mille Crepe - Php225.00 per slice


Paper Moon Cafe
2F Uptown Place Mall
36th St. corner 9th Avenue
Bonifacio Global City
Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 946-3094

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Kandaya Resort: Kusina Restaurant & Bar

It has always been a dilemma for me on where to dine whenever CS and I go on vacation and stay in a boutique hotel or resort in an isolated location. That was exactly what my friends and I were faced with when went on a short vacation in Kandaya Resort.

Kusina Restaurant & Bar, which offers a stunning view of the ocean, is the only dining spot in the resort so guests really have no other option if you're craving for a different cuisine aside from a limited variety of Asian and Western food. We were only staying for a weekend but for guests staying for a minimum of 2 nights, I believe you'd be able to try everything off the menu.

We left Mandarin Plaza Hotel after breakfast and didn't bother stopping halfway to the resort for lunch. So imagine arriving at Kandaya just before 2PM and had to wait another 40 minutes before our orders started arriving one by one. I understand that it was already beyond lunch time but service was really slow, not only during that instance but throughout our stay.
Price range of our orders were between Php300 to Php500 per order but good enough for sharing.

What we ordered

Chicken Adobo

Lechon Kawali

Seafood Sinigang

Complimentary breakfast had a limited but well thought out selection of classic Pinoy favorites.


Cheese and Dried Fruits

Cold Cuts

Smoked Salmon

Homemade Banana Jam

Homemade Grape Jam

Pan Au Chocolat

Pork Tocino and Bacon

Corned Beef and Meatloaf

Dried Fish and Daing na Bangus

Pork and Chicken Sausage


Fresh Fruit Juice

My breakfast plate

What stood out for me was the Smoked Salmon and Daing na Bangus, which was best enjoyed with piping hot rice. As we were in Cebu, I was expecting to see Danggit on the buffet table but unfortunately, they were not serving it that day. From what I understand, they do change the menu everyday for the sake of the guests staying for more than a night.

Smoked Salmon with Capers

Daing na Bangus

While I like my eggs cooked Sunny Side Up, Eggs Benedict is still my top choice so I approached the staff at the open kitchen to ask if they can prepare one for me. He obviously was not sure but I appreciated him asking the head chef if they can accommodate my request and luckily, the chef approved! Not only did he prepared an Eggs Benedict, he added Salmon in it too.

Salmon Eggs Benedict


Kandaya Resort
Agujo, Daanbantayan
Cebu, Philippines
Tel.: (6332) 260-6006
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